By Laycha K. Marra
Bontoc, Mountain Province- To anchor the main purpose of the Provincial Ordinance No. 218- to protect government employees and the clients from dangers and hazards of smoking, the Anti-smoking task force conducted a two day smoking cessation training to provincial government employees on February 17-18, 2016.
Provincial Administrator Johny V. Lausan, the Chairperson of the Anti-smoking task force said that one of the functions of the force is to undertake educational awareness campaigns on the ill effects of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, information dissemination programs, thus, organizing the cessation training.
The smoking cessation program of the provincial government and the Department of Health aims to support smokers to quit the habit of smoking. With facilitators, Health Education Promotions Officer (HEPO) II Prima Donna Te-elan, Nutritionist Dietician II Juliet Calaowa, and Dr. Helen Tikchap, the participants were able to know the reasons why people get addicted to smoking and ways on how to quit smoking.
Governor Leonard G. Mayaen, Anti-Smoking Task Force Honorary Chairperson, said that the cessation training will help employees be aware of the consequences of smoking. He added that it will improve the welfare not only the employees but also the clients of the provincial government. The governor is hopeful that with the training it will help the employees who are smoking to quit.
Dr. Tikchap shared to the participants the reasons why people get addicted to smoking. She said that the reason why people get addicted to smoking is because of the nicotine that is contained in tobacco plants. Cigarette smoking produces a fast distribution of nicotine to the brain, wherein it will take effect within 10 seconds of inhalation. Nicotine changes the brain chemistry; it changes the levels of dopamine and noradrenaline wherein your mood and concentration levels change.Nicotine is insidious that makes it addictive.Smokers continue dosing to maintain the substance’s pleasurable effects and also prevents withdrawal.
According to Calaowa, quitting smoking is not easy; one may feel edgy and irritable, may get upset faster, have trouble concentrating and feel hungrier than usual. These symptoms drives people back to smoking. But to get rid of tobacco, Calaowa shared tips on how to quit smoking:
- Make a list why you are quitting, read it over and over while quitting
- Keep repeating your decision throughout the day from morning till night. The more you say it, the more you mean it.
- Stay away from other smokers as much as possible for the next few weeks.
- Do not go where people are drinking liquor. Avoid old friends who like to drink.
- Two or even three times a day, take a warm bath for 15 to 20 minutes at a time
- Drink 6-8 glasses of water daily. This will help flush out poisons
- Take no alcoholic beverages. It will cloud your mind, weaken your will power and you may go back to smoking
- Learn to depend on prayer. Only God can give you the help you need. This is a crisis in your life; and you need God’s help.
A smoking cessation clinic at the Bontoc General Hospital has been operational since August 2015. The clinic is open Monday-Friday, from 8am to 4pm, and it is open to the public for counseling services. The clinic also caters to in-patient and out patients who are recommended by medical practitioners.
It can be recalled that the Provincial Ordinance No. 218 also known as an ordinance prohibiting smoking within provincial government offices and its premises and providing penalties for violation thereof; took effect on October 2015. The ordinance prohibits any person from smoking cigarette or any tobacco products within the provincial government offices and its premises which is the immediate surroundings of the offices which should not extend beyond ten (10) meters from the building. It also includes any other building or structures owned or managed by the province except in duly designated smoking areas as defined in the ordinance.
Meanwhile, on March 3, 2016, the Graphic Health Warning Law has been implemented. Local and imported cigarettes are required to contain graphic photos bearing the ill effects of smoking. The GHW law requires 50 percent occupancy of the graphic images on both sides of the packs of tobacco products. This law is also known as Republic Act No. 10643 (RA10643), an act that seeks to effectively instill health consciousness through graphic health warnings on tobacco products.